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Discussion Starter #1
My R1250RT burnt it's first low beam bulb at 16,000km. It looks like this bike has the same appetite for bulbs that my 07 had.
Since this bulb is in the center of the front fairing, what is the best technique to replace it without cursing too much?
 

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I did my low beam about 3 weeks ago from the front and reaching underneath. Took me about 10 min as a first timer. Can be done, but you have to feel around to get it completed. Hope that helps.

Sammy
2017 BMW R1200RT

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+1 what Sammy says.
My 2016RT burned out/changed out, 2 conventional bulbs before I made the jump to LED low beam.
I first used a poorly designed LED that didn't illuminate the middle of the road well, then changed to the Cyclops that has a very good design that does fill the road properly with consistent light.
I've installed this LED on several other friends bikes…so all together 8 low beam installs and only 1 was the total removal of the front of the bike to do the job…

I'm sure there will be several folks that chime in saying that the "only way" is to remove the complete headlight from the bike…but it's not that bad with a little info and a picture to help you along.
Yes, I've dropped the adaptor ring for the LED down into the headlight housing, but it's retrieved within about 30 seconds with a length of wire with a small hook formed on the end fished in thru the RH high beam access.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
That's what I was thinking also. Reaching the cover and the bulb from the instrument panel side seems almost impossible.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
+1 what Sammy says.
My 2016RT burned out/changed out, 2 conventional bulbs before I made the jump to LED low beam.
I first used a poorly designed LED that didn't illuminate the middle of the road well, then changed to the Cyclops that has a very good design that does fill the road properly with consistent light.
I've installed this LED on several other friends bikes…so all together 8 low beam installs and only 1 was the total removal of the front of the bike to do the job…

I'm sure there will be several folks that chime in saying that the "only way" is to remove the complete headlight from the bike…but it's not that bad with a little info and a picture to help you along.
Yes, I've dropped the adaptor ring for the LED down into the headlight housing, but it's retrieved within about 30 seconds with a length of wire with a small hook formed on the end fished in thru the RH high beam access.

Thanks for the picture but I'm aware of what it looks like. It's the same setup as my previous 07.
I'm trying to find out what is the easiest way to do it.
It seems that there is only to options: by feel from the front or removing the whole headlight assembly.
 

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The first time I changed the headlight on my 2014 R1200RT it took about 20 minutes. With the bike on the center stand I reached around the fairing from the front and was able to unlatch the wire clips that hold the bulb in place although one clip was difficult to release. Before I put the new bulb in I placed a small dot on the metal base with a sharpie so I could know the correct "up" orientation for the bulb while looking at it from the front. The bulb went in easily. One wire clip latched the first time, the second was more difficult.

The second time was a different story. The wire clip that was difficult to latch the first time would not unlatch. After over an hour of trying and bruised fingertips I used my phone to take a photo of the back of the bulb and saw that the metal part of the latch that the wire clips into was bent so there was little room to get the wire out. After another hour of trying to unlatch the wire I printed the directions for removing the headlight assembly and spent the rest of the day taking it apart to change the bulb. With the headlight on a padded workbench I could get the wire unlatched and then fixed the bend metal so the latch worked properly.

I suspect that the first owner of the bike (or a BMW shop) started the the bent metal and that I bent it more in my efforts to get the light out and in the first time. I plan to change over to LED lights this winter and since the metal has been bent once I will do the disassembly method since I do not want to risk breaking the metal piece.

The other piece of advice I have is that when I bought the H7 bulb I looked at the package and picked the bulbs with the longest life, not the ones that were the brightest. There was a direct tradeoff between brightness and lifetime. With the LED driving lights I have enough light on low beam for night riding and I wanted to change that bulb as infrequently as possible.
 

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Perhaps you haven't seen the small hint that I had shared several times in the past, but I think that most people finds that what really slows them down is when trying to put the wire clip back in place. One side first is easy, but the other side is always very tough with the small wire biting hard into one's finger! So, the trick is to use a short piece wooden dowel, and cut a V in the end to engage the wire clip. It doesn't have to be a dowel, and when I did it, I just happen to have some disposable chopstick around, and broke a piece off that and use it. Changed the bulb out in a couple of minutes!

For curiosity sake, I just want to say that, out of three RTs that I have owned, and many, many thousands of mile ridden, I had to change out a bulb exactly once! I think that I know why, but I can't think of a good technical reason to rationalize it!
 
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PadG, thanks for the reminder of the dowel trick. Yes, I did remember your tip about the dowel and used it in addition to using my fingertips. I think I was already struggling with a bent clip the first time. I also know from years of changing H4 bulbs that the second wire is always the more difficult one. I have also tried to rationalize why this bike burns out headlights without getting an answer. One theory I have seen out there is to always wait for the bike to go through the electronic startup (display flashing stuff) before hitting the engine start switch. I tried to do that after the first H7 failure and the second H7 did not last as long. I think my answer will be a switch to LEDs. That just leaves the ADVmonster vs. Cyclops debate....
 
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2003 BMW K1200 LT (88K on 2020/08/13)
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Daniel:

I'm an LT owner and changing bulbs is a bit easier, although cumbersome (lying on your back hands up under her dress, feels awkward). I did a quick Google search and three YouTube videos on the subject, two reach in blind, if you don't have giant gorilla mitts for hands like I do, and one where the fairing was removed, which is what you're try to avoid. Thought it might be help, from the information and my quick Google search, there do not seem to be a lot of options for this request.
 

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Just changed mine a couple of weeks ago.

My fingers were sore from crimping that stupid retainer springs.


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I sit in front of the bike to change bulbs. After having changed many bulbs on my last bike (Honda CTX) which had similar spring-clips, it takes just a few minutes. It's so quick and easy, that I've put aside the idea of switching to LED's. That decision is made easier by the fact that I don't ride at night.
I wear a light rubberized glove when I do this to protect my fingers from the spring clips digging into them and to make handling the bulb a bit more secure. To get the clips to release after the weather cover has been removed and the light plug pulled off (carefully), they need to be pushed inward a bit and toward the front of the bike and then moved toward the outside of the bike once they're free. Once both spring clips have been released, they need to be raised up and out of the way so you can remove/replace the bulb. I replace mine at 10,000 mile intervals even if they're still burning. I've gotten as few as 9,000 miles out of them and as much as 13,000 miles.

YouTube has several videos that may help.
 

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Perhaps you haven't seen the small hint that I had shared several times in the past, but I think that most people finds that what really slows them down is when trying to put the wire clip back in place. One side first is easy, but the other side is always very tough with the small wire biting hard into one's finger! So, the trick is to use a short piece wooden dowel, and cut a V in the end to engage the wire clip. It doesn't have to be a dowel, and when I did it, I just happen to have some disposable chopstick around, and broke a piece off that and use it. Changed the bulb out in a couple of minutes!

For curiosity sake, I just want to say that, out of three RTs that I have owned, and many, many thousands of mile ridden, I had to change out a bulb exactly once! I think that I know why, but I can't think of a good technical reason to rationalize it!
Thats the method I use as well. I got one clip out originally with fingers but could not get the other. With the dowel it took just seconds to get it. I too have only had one failure in 6 years and 130,000kms of riding.
 

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Instead of a notched dow the other way to get the second clip in is using a golf glove w/ its very thin but strong cabretta leather. I keep one in my took kit. No one here can say w/ any authority the internet rumor that by not hitting the starter until all electronics will spare your low beam, but at now 44,442 miles I've yet to have an OEM bulb burn out. I changed the original at 14K miles before departing on a trip, figuring I was living on borrowed time and I wanted to change it in my garage versus roadside for this first bulb change. I put in a higher output PIAA H7 and it died in 4K miles. At that point I installed a new 'long life' BMW H7 and it's still going strong. I've followed the internet rumor FWIW which isn't alot as a single anecdote but it has not yet defied the rumor, and many have complained about short bulb life so who knows.
 
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Discussion Starter #15
I changed my low beam today.
It's even worse than my 07!
I Had to do everything by feel from the front.
It Took me 1/2 hr
Before putting it back together, I added a ceramic harness between the OEM and the bulb that I had on my 07.
Save's the OEM plastic connector from the heat of the bulb
171387
 

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I changed my low beam today.
It's even worse than my 07!
I Had to do everything by feel from the front.
It Took me 1/2 hr
Before putting it back together, I added a ceramic harness between the OEM and the bulb that I had on my 07.
Save's the OEM plastic connector from the heat of the bulb
View attachment 171387
Nice, where did you get the connector?

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Dann: I just did this too, on a '17 RT. I got a folding chair and set it next to the front wheel so the back of it was toward the rear of the bike. Then, I sat sideways on it, leaned back onto the front fender and was able to get better access to the area. You still can't see anything. Getting the waterproof plug off is EZ. The wires over the bulb hook at the bottom. You press them outward and lift. It took me a while.

BTW, there is an illustration of the bulb in the socket with the wires on in the rider's manual. It's not totally helpful, but it takes maybe half the guesswork away.

Happy Trails!

:alien:
 

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Instead of a notched dow the other way to get the second clip in is using a golf glove w/ its very thin but strong cabretta leather. I keep one in my took kit. No one here can say w/ any authority the internet rumor that by not hitting the starter until all electronics will spare your low beam, but at now 44,442 miles I've yet to have an OEM bulb burn out. I changed the original at 14K miles before departing on a trip, figuring I was living on borrowed time and I wanted to change it in my garage versus roadside for this first bulb change. I put in a higher output PIAA H7 and it died in 4K miles. At that point I installed a new 'long life' BMW H7 and it's still going strong. I've followed the internet rumor FWIW which isn't alot as a single anecdote but it has not yet defied the rumor, and many have complained about short bulb life so who knows.
Noel:

I like 2 things about this post:

1. The theory that waiting until the boot-up is done is helpful to bulb life. I never heard that. Why not?
2. That your long life bulb has lasted so long. Great!!! That's what I put in my bike. Give me hope I won't have to install the extra one I bought.

A lot of people think there's not enough light to these but I think they're fine. They don't dazzle oncoming cars and the brights are pretty good when you need to see in the dark. I've put real bright lights on bikes before. Generally, you get night-blind from the reflections of the street signs.

:alien:
 

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A lot of people think there's not enough light to these but I think they're fine.
:alien:
I agree but part of that is I don't ride at night much, and if I did I'd probably be inclined to install Clearwater's because my night vision isn't all that great. For day use and along w/ the LED halos, I think it's ample along w/ my hi-vis jacket and white helmet for conspicuity needs. Plus, w/ the longevity I'm getting I don't need LEDs it's a genuine non-issue.

As I understood the internet theory I read voltage to the low beam might be susceptible to a short-lived rebound surge after the big load coming from hitting the starter. I don't know if it is plausible at all, but I will say it seems to match what happens in CPU voltage regulation after large loads suddenly stop.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Personally I don't think that waiting for the bike to "Boot up" really makes a difference.
I always wait for it to be done before I start the bike and my low beam only lasted 10,000mi.

YMMV
 
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